Report on the Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI) Diversity Forum

Report on the Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI) Diversity Forum: Evidence-based Practices for Broadening Participation in the Chemical Sciences

Executive Summary 

On May 5-6, 2015, the CCI Diversity Forum was held at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, VA. The Forum was initiated and organized by the eight CCI Education, Outreach, and Diversity (EOD) Directors, however, representatives from across the CCIs were in attendance, including; two Managing Directors, several CCI research faculty and PIs, presenters, and NSF Program Officers from the Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences (Division of  Chemistry) and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources attended the  Forum. It was a full two-day meeting.

The aims of the Forum were to bring all of the Phase II CCIs together to share their current diversity initiatives, learn more about evidenced based practices from field experts, and explore tools and strategies to enhance broadening participation efforts within and across the CCI network. An anticipated outcome of the Forum  was a measurable shift in how CCIs conceptualize diversity, design and implement diversity related programming, and collaborate. Forum topics ranged from Inspiring K-12 Students to Enter the STEM Workforce to Obstacles to Minority Retention in Academic Careers.

The invited speakers included University Research Faculty, a STEM Director, a Research & Evaluation Specialist, and a Diversity Programs Manager from the American Chemical Society (ACS).  Compelling evidenced based research and best practices were presented. The presentations also sparked lively discussions and generated new ideas for the CCIs. In fact, four recommendations for moving forward emerged at the meeting:

  • Develop a stronger CCI connection to the American Chemical Society & its diversity initiatives and network
  • Consider a diversity professional development webinar for the CCIs
  • Identify a mechanism to pool diversity related resources
  • Provide a forum for sharing diversity related best practices from across disciplines.

It was determined that the CCI EOD Directors would consider the recommendations after the meeting and present a more comprehensive plan for addressing the recommendations to the CCI Managing Directors and NSF Program Officer. This presentation was held on July 15, 2015.